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In our opinion: We can all work to prevent suicides


The high-profile cases of Jennifer Huston and Robin Williams raise awareness

With the recent high profile deaths of Jennifer Huston locally and actor/comedian Robin Williams in California, awareness of suicide may be greater now than it is normally. And that awareness may actually be an opportunity to extract something positive from their untimely deaths.Aug. 20 editorial

According to the Lines for Life Suicide Lifeline, Williams’ death has prompted a dramatic increase in people concerned that a family member or friend might be considering suicide.

“This is exactly what we urge people to do — to start a conversation and take action so we can help prevent suicide,” said David Westbrook, CEO of Lines for Life, the organization’s Oregon affiliate.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273 8255) answers more than 1 million calls a year in an effort to provide help, hope, support and recover to callers in emotional distress. On Aug. 10, the day before Williams’ death, the hotline answered about 3,000 calls. The day following his death the hotline was besieged with 7,375 calls, the highest number of inquiries in a day in the history of the organization.

Nobody can really know what drives a person to take their own life, but statistics are clear that people who are unsuccessful are glad they lived. The trick is to get counseling for people contemplating suicide before they can carry it through.

If you are contemplating suicide, reach out to the hotline, a friend or family member. If you know of someone who appears to be reaching the end of their rope, reach out to them. You may be saving their life.

In the words of the hotline, “Take action. Call us and we’ll help you help them.”